The latest nonsense to be promoted by the media is that Celtic could request a postponement to the game in February because of the number of players we will have on international duty. I think that’s unlikely to say the least; indeed, I’d be amazed if it happened.
Indeed, I would be astounded if it did, because Ange Postecoglou has already as good as said that it will not happen. He has spelled this out in clear, precise language.
We will get on with whatever we need to get on with. If players are called up for internationals, they’ll go and Celtic will cope.
On top of that, anyone who thinks that the SPFL is going to do us a favour here and agree to this isn’t playing with a full deck. Doncaster has already said that the fixture list is so congested now that there’s virtually no time left on the clock for something like this.
Of course, this all might change if Ibrox itself decides to request the postponement and asks us about it; that could happen, based on who they might have absent from the game themselves, but I rather think in their arrogance they will fancy having a go at us, especially if the match is to be played in front of empty stands. That’s their level, after all.
I actually don’t know what game the media thinks it’s playing here; Ange has, as ever, talked dead straight about this and has offered not the first hint that he’s even considering asking for this. Is this to give the impression that we’re running scared? A week ago it was Ibrox who might pull this stroke, and I thought then that it would have been gutless.
I understand that we have the right to do this, so there will be no song and dance from me if the club and the manager think it’s for the best and do make the request … but I don’t expect them to, and I certainly won’t be miffed if we don’t pursue the idea.
And as I said, I don’t think for one second that any request of this nature would meet with the approval of the SPFL even if we were to make it with six players out; the four Japanese, Rogic and Soro. Three players out is supposed to be the threshold; we could end up with twice that many confirmed missing and still not get a positive hearing for our case.
It sounds like a doomed enterprise. The press would almost overwhelmingly oppose it. Ibrox? There’s no knowing what their own response to it would be; if they sniffed even a scintilla of advantage they would not agree to it and be relentless in their opposition.
Imagine, for example, that these guys all hit the ground running? Imagine that they look as if they could be really decisive on the day. There is no way that Ibrox will do anything but shout their disapproval from the rooftops, and I think they’d get their way.
Ange says we’ll deal with whatever comes our way, and we will.
The man will not ask for any special favours here.
The show will go on as scheduled.